An anonymous email survey conducted by HighSchoolOT.com has found North Carolina High School Athletics Association member schools overwhelmingly oppose a state takeover of prep sports governance.
The survey came in response to legislative action taken last week to potentially strip the NCHSAA of its oversight authority and replace it with a commission selected by lawmakers beginning with the 2022-23 academic year.
Of the 427 NCHSAA member schools slated to be part of the association during the 2021-2022 school year, 230 athletic directors responded to the survey, which is a response rate of 53.9 percent. HighSchoolOT did not collect identifying information about the athletic directors or schools that responded. However, information about classification, region, and type of school was collected.
According to the survey results, 86.1 percent of athletic directors at NCHSAA member schools — or 198 of the 230 respondents — oppose HB 91. Just 5.2 percent say they support the bill, while 8.7 percent say they are not sure if they support the bill. Opposition grows to 88.7 percent when the question wording centers on whether government should take over high school sports.
A clear majority in each of the NCHSAA's four classifications opposes the legislation, but it has the most support at the 3A level, where 11.7 percent of athletic directors say they favor HB 91. It has the least support at the 4A level, where just 1.5 percent support the bill.
When broken down by school type, there is virtually no support among charter and non-boarding parochial schools for HB 91, which would remove the four non-boarding parochial schools — Bishop McGuinness, Cardinal Gibbons, Charlotte Catholic, and Christ the King — from competition. Based on the survey responses, 96 percent of the charter and non-boarding parochial schools oppose the bill and 4 percent are not sure. Not one charter school or parochial school athletic director voiced support.
The vast majority — 84.9 percent — of athletic directors at traditional public schools do not support HB 91, compared to 5.9 percent who say they do and 9.3 percent who say they are not sure how they feel about the bill.
Last week, the National Federation of State High School associations was quick to endorse the NCHSAA as the best entity to serve North Carolina's sports-governing needs.
Respondents to the HighSchoolOT survey seem to concur with the NFHS. Athletic directors were asked, "How do you prefer any concerns or issues within high school sports be addressed?" Of the 230 responses, 83.9 percent say they preferred the NCHSAA and its board of directors address the concerns they have compared to just 3.9 percent who prefer the state legislature address those concerns. Another 12.2 percent of the athletic directors prefer some other way to address concerns.